With an “Ag-Gag” bill aimed at suppressing agribusiness whistleblowing now making its way through the North Carolina legislature, COK just released a powerful new undercover video exposing abuse to birds inside Mountaire Farms, a chicken slaughterhouse in Robeson County, NC.
If the pending ag-gag bill SB433/HB405—supported by the North Carolina poultry industry—becomes law, this video may be the last honest look the public will get behind the closed doors of factory farms or slaughterhouses in the state.
Captured on camera by a COK investigator who worked inside the Mountaire Farms facility in March and April 2015, the footage reveals:
- Birds being violently thrown around the facility
- Workers punching, shoving, and pushing birds who are hanging, upside-down in shackles
- A worker ripping out bird’s feathers and throwing them at another worker
- Birds being forcefully slammed into leg shackles
- Sick or injured birds being thrown into piles of dead and other dying birds like garbage material
This level of violence against animals is so egregious that it violates the state’s animal protection laws. COK has turned over the evidence to Robeson County law enforcement and is hopeful this case of cruelty will be taken seriously.
The North Carolina legislature is currently fast-tracking a dangerous anti-whistleblower Ag-Gag bill that, if enacted, would have prevented COK’s investigator from shedding light on these violent acts. SB433/HB405 aims to make it illegal to document and expose nearly any wrong-doing inside factory farms and slaughterhouses — from animal abuse and labor issues to food safety and environmental violations.
North Carolina’s chicken industry is desperate to cover up its rampant animal abuse, which is why it’s so feverishly working to enact this law.Rather than doing the right thing to stop these abuses from happening, the North Carolina chicken industry is simply trying to prevent the public from seeing it and punishing anyone who would expose it.
This isn’t the first time North Carolina has attempted to pass an Ag-Gag law that aims to keep Americans in the dark. In just the past few years, undercover investigations in North Carolina have exposed shocking cruelty, including sick and injured birds being buried alive at a chicken factory farm in Harnett County that was also documented by Compassion Over Killing.
Mountaire Farms is the 7th largest chicken slaughterer in the US with operations in North Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware.
“Rather than doing the right thing to stop these abuses from happening, the North Carolina chicken industry is desperately trying to prevent Americans from seeing such cruelty. Gov. McCrory should follow in the footsteps of other Republican governors such as Arizona’s Doug Ducey and Tennessee’s Bill Haslam by vetoing this shameful ag-gag bill.”
Executive Director, Compassion Over Killing
Mountaire Facility Investigation Photos
I spent several weeks undercover at a slaughter plant in North Carolina, and I witnessed horrible animal abuse. Please help me stop a new law that would prevent investigators like me from exposing this vile mistreatment of animals.
Between March and April 2015, I worked undercover for the national animal protection organization Compassion Over Killing inside of a Mountaire Farms slaughter plant in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina. What I witnessed there will haunt me for the rest of my life. You can see the investigation details here.
Every shift that I worked, I saw workers treating chickens in a despicable manner–and largely for the sole amusement of the worker. More often than not, workers would shackle the frightened chickens so rough that they ran the risk of breaking or injuring their sensitive legs. The workers would play games where they would stand several feet back away from the shackles, and with one hand, they would grip a chicken very tightly and overhand throw them as fast as they could at the moving metal shackles–to see who could shackle the birds in that manner. So many times as the birds would slam into the shackles they would frantically flap their wings–possibly indicating an injury which occurred due to the force at which they were thrown.
I take my responsibility to expose abuses like this very seriously. That’s why I’m so concerned about a new “Ag-Gag” bill in North Carolina that would make it impossible for me to do this work. Please sign my petition asking Governor McCrory to veto this bill.
Whether you agree or disagree with the meat industry and their process, the simple fact is that these animals are being slaughtered by the millions daily. As humans, it is our responsibility, our moral obligation, to ensure that this happens with as little suffering as possible — but that’s the opposite of what I saw at Mountaire Farms.
Consumers have a right to know where they are spending their hard earned money, and what they are supporting. Instead of funneling money and energy into more humane treatment of animals, the ag industry is using all of its resources to prevent the public from seeing the truth. The truth which I have painfully witnessed, and lived through. A truth which I will relive every time I close my eyes at night.
Please urge Governor McCrory to veto HB 405/SB 433 (the “Ag-Gag” bill) if it gets to his desk. Urge him to help the animals that we have the obligation to protect rather than companies abusing them.